Shooting more is Shooting Better

I started out this year trying to shoot a roll a week. A quarter way through they year I'm still on track and shooting a bit extra, in case I have a busy weekend or week. As I read more about art making and photography, projects like this can lead to large impacts on work. Take this story from Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. 

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the "quantity" group: fifty pound of pots rated an "A", forty pounds a "B", and so on. Those being graded on "quality", however, needed to produce only one pot - albeit a perfect one - to get an "A".
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the "quantity" group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the "quality" group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

Shooting more is going to make your photography improve. Ironically I shoot more now with film than I ever did with digital. With film having a set number of shots, a roll of 24 or 36 a week, is an easy thing to track. I just need to leave the house with a camera, a light meter and a roll to keep the streak going. Shooting a thousand shots in one sitting with digital isn't the goal here but shooting 100 shots a week for ten weeks is. 

Shooting like this every week also keeps my brain in gear and always on the lookout for photos. Once it became a habit I find more things that interest me and more techniques I want to try. Imagine if you had to eat a pound of chicken a week for a year, if you didn't find some new recipes you would get pretty bored.

The most important part is shooting when you don't feel like it. There will be those cloudy days where the weather is blah and nothing is going on. I literally drive to corner or walk around and just start snapping. The images may not be amazing but are always better than I expected. The act of shooting all the time and making mistakes teaches you more than waiting for the perfect subject or set of conditions to happen. I can't control the perfect shooting conditions but I can prepare myself to be ready and better when they come around.